Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Entrepreneurial Career

I have always admired the person who spends their entire career with one company.  Part of my admiration stems from the realization that it was never in the cards for me.  And, secondly,  as a society we are moving further and further away from what once was our workplace ideal.  

No longer.  In the new economy, many careers will mirror my own, which started in broadcasting, where in order to move up, often times you had to move on.  I did so, 8 times in 18 years.  That experience created the opportunity to enter executive management which opened the door to the opportunity to own my firm.

Each move brought with it a huge challenge, uncertainty, risk, fear of failure and a determination to succeed.   Ask any entrepreneur if they experience the same set of anxieties.

While I admire those colleagues of mine who over the years remained loyal to their single employer, my own experience suggests the career path today is wide open and headed in multiple, unknown, directions.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Family Meetings

An excellent family business planning conference recently emphasized the value of trust through open communication as a key driver of success.

The patriarch and CEO of a very successful family business laid out the company strategy for strategic planning that consists of mandatory bi-annual family planning meetings at which all family members who have a stake in the company attend, spouses and children included.

The meetings are scheduled well in advance, detailed agendas are prepared with action items listed for specific attention.

What struck me was the value gained not only in helping set the strategic direction and achieve the buy-in necessary to grow the business, but also how it solidified relationships within the family.  It raised issues in my own mind with respect to open communication within my own family, the most important unit of organization in my life.   How often do we meet as a family to discuss our own strategic family plan?

Do we have our own family mission statement that speaks to who we are as a family unit and how that unit will organize itself to support the dreams and aspirations of individual members? 
Life is only getting more complex as the children get older, careers change and circumstances evolve in life.  The strength of the family is the foundation upon which such challenges are met. 

Now my oldest child has a driver's license.  A new level of responsibility for her.  A higher dimension of trust for the family.  A perfect opportunity to re-open those lines of communication to solidify the glue that binds the most important relationships in life.